Ten Great Session Bars in the U.S.
The Alembic, San Francisco, CA: This upscale rustic place has a great beer selection with unique, decently priced food, including pickled quail eggs and pulled pork sliders. The spirits selection is a cut above, just in case your friends want to switch from beer mid-session.
Brick Store Pub, Decatur, GA: If the solid tap selection and 75 or so bottles at the main bar are not enough, you can head to the upstairs Belgian-focused bar. Good Southern-leaning pub menu with some innovative snack items.
Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub, Syracuse, NY: This pub has been around since 1933 in a Syracuse neighborhood called Tipperary Hill, where a traffic light has the green on top. The bar has a small leprechaun’s door. Decent Irish food, drink and music.
Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA: Good food, darts and art on the walls from local artists all play into the atmosphere. While many bars celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Grey Lodge also marks the feast days of lesser-known saints, including St. David (March 1st), St. George (April 23rd), St. Jean-Baptiste (June 24th) and St. Andrew (Nov. 30th).
Horse Brass Pub, Portland, OR: A great range of beers, with the emphasis on the Pacific Northwest and United Kingdom. Relaxing pub atmosphere and a knowledgeable staff. English Premier League soccer is likely what is on the television.
My Brother’s Bar, Denver, CO: It does not have the tap selection of some of the better-known Denver beer hangouts, but you will find something you like. The place has a following and it does not have a sign outside. The burgers are well-known.
Raleigh Times, Raleigh, NC: Housed in an ex-newspaper building, this spot has a good range of beers that change on a regular basis. The menu has some interesting takes on traditional pub classics.
Sheffield’s, Chicago, IL: Solid selection of Midwest beers and several unique seating areas. The outdoor beer garden is a delight after a Cubs game.
Studio Square, Long Island City, NY: This Queens beer garden features long communal tables and a decent list of German and domestic brews. Studio Square has the beer hall-style foods you would expect, along with sushi and other treats.
The Sugar Maple, Milwaukee, WI: An impressive tap range that is heavily invested in some of the best the Midwest has to offer and a friendly, knowledgeable staff make this a great stop. Décor is on the modern side, but it still is a comfortable place to relax over a brew.
Rick Lyke is a native of upstate New York who has been writing about beer since 1980. He contributed to the recently released book 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die.